Monday, June 13, 2011

Moffatt-Ladd House

The Moffatt-Ladd House, sometimes called the Whipple-Ladd House, is one of the few wooden buildings in downtown Portsmouth that survived the Great Portsmouth Fires of 1802, 1806, and 1813. A National Historic Landmark, the elegant Georgian-style home is located at 154 Market Street.

John Moffatt, an extremely prosperous Portsmouth merchant, built this mansion in 1763 as a wedding gift to his son, Samuel Moffatt. The entire Moffatt family resided here, across the street from the shipping warehouses of Merchant's Row.

John Moffatt’s daughter, Katherine, married William Whipple in the early 1770s, and they also lived in this house with the Moffatt family. After signing the Declaration of Independence, Whipple returned to this home in Portsmouth and planted a horse chestnut tree that still thrives today on the south (left) side of the house. General Whipple served under George Washington during the Revolutionary War and continued to live in this home until his death in 1785.

In 1817, John Moffatt’s great granddaughter, Maria Tufton Haven Ladd, inherited the house, and the Ladd family descendants lived here until 1911.

The photo below is from C. S. Gurney's 1902 book, Portsmouth . . . Historic and Picturesque.

I captured the above photograph during a Portsmouth walk in November 2011. During the spring and summer, William Whipple's horse chestnut tree, which is now more than 235 years old, almost completely obstructs the mansion from this viewpoint.

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